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Eden, Thomas McDonald

Eden, Thomas McDonald

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September 6, 1927 - May 15, 2017 September 6, 1927 May 15, 2017, THOMAS McDONALD EDEN, JR (89) peacefully went to be with the Lord while at Bethany House in Auburn surrounded by his children and grandchildren. Tom Eden is a 1950 graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Ornamental Horticulture with a specialty in Landscape Design. His early childhood was spent in Nashville, Tennessee where he was a member of the Junior Army ROTC program, a cheerleader and graduated from West End High School in 1945. He was then drafted during World War II into the United States Navy at age 17 and was immediately sent to San Diego, California, for the Navy Boot Camp. After serving the Navy aboard ship he was Honorably Discharged and entered college in Auburn, Alabama at A.P.I. (Alabama Polytechnic Institute), now Auburn University. Tom earned many honors at A.P.I. including being President of his Senior Class, President of the SGA Senate, Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, and also Head Cheerleader. He was told by T. C. Clark (Dean of Men) that he had been selected to represent A.P.I. as a candidate to compete for the RHODES SCHOLARSHIP to attend Oxford University in England. He was later selected for membership in PHI KAPPA PHI National Scholastic Honorary Society at Auburn. Tom was selected to be a member of Spades Honorary as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Men on the Auburn campus, and is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association. Thanks to football captain ARNOLD FAGAN and after going thru a classic all week initiation Tom was inducted into the AUBURN ATHLETIC "A" CLUB. Upon graduation from A.P.I., he was called once again for active duty and served aboard ship during the Korean War as an Officer in the United States Navy. Tom served 23 years on Active and Reserve Duty and Retired Honorably as a Navy Commander.In December 1950, he married his Sweetheart Carolyn Pleasants and they were blessed with a son Tommy (wife Sandra), daughter Eve (husband Randy) and a son Steve (wife Lynn) and later on were blessed with nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. During his active years, Tom was a teacher in the A.P.I. Horticulture Department and then taught Landscape Design on the Alabama Educational Television Network for over 13 years. Tom and his family were members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee where his mother GRACE BROWN EDEN played the piano and also played the organ for the Church Service. At age 13 while sitting next to his grandmother "BIRDIE BROWN" he went up front and joined the church. After Tom returned from the Korean War, he and his family joined the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama where he served as a deacon and also as a teacher for the Men's Bible Class. In 1953, Tom was asked to be an Advisor (and again 2000-2005) for his SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) Fraternity.It was decided by the SAE House Corporation to build a new Fraternity House so five acres of land was purchased on West Magnolia Ave. in 1955, and the present SAE Fraternity House was built in 1957. In 2010, the SAE Brothers honored Tom Eden for his efforts by dedicating their Dining area with Thomas M. Eden, Jr. Spelled out on the wall and appropriate pictures and plaque in the Trophy Case. In the 1960's, Tom and one of his lifelong friends, Lee Cannon, hosted an Educational Television show in Auburn and Tom's show was called "Time to Grow." In 1968, Tom was the founder with Constitution and By-Laws for the AU WAR EAGLE GIRLS & Plainsmen. In 1969, Tom was asked by the Textile Industry in Alabama to serve as their Executive Vice President and Lobbyist in the Alabama Legislature which he did for 16 years, and he also served as President of the Alabama Council of Association Executives. In Montgomery, he served as President of the Montgomery Lions Club with over 350 members and also served as the Club's Chairman of the International Youth Committee for 15 years. In Auburn, Tom served as President of the Auburn Beautification Council and also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Auburn Lions Club. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 30 for five years in Auburn, Alabama with 53 Scouts and where 23 Scouts attained the rank of Eagle Scout (his two sons, Tommy and Steve are Eagle Scouts and also his nephew, Terry Wilson along with his grandsons Drew, Luke and Chandler Eden). One of his Alumni Scouts in Troop 30 U.S. Navy Admiral Bill Goodwin, was honored by being named the first Commanding Officer of the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier with over 6,000 men on board. Tom went through the Scouting Wood Badge course, received the Order of the Arrow Emblem, and while serving on the Scout Council Board of Directors he was honored with the SILVER BEAVER AWARD. Tom was also selected for membership in the National Association of Baptists for Scouting. Tom coached Little League Baseball for 5 years and served on the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 5 years and was a 1984 Charter Member of the Auburn University Research Board of Directors for over 26 years. Tom was mentor to an Auburn University student who in 2011 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives - Congressman Dennis Ross from the State of Florida. In 1984, Tom and his wife, Carolyn and sons, Steve and Tommy Eden along with nephew, Terry Wilson started a new business in Auburn and named it "The Garden of Eden Nursery and Garden Center." The business changed its name to "The Garden of Eden Services" and the Eden Family business has been in operation for over 30 years. Tom and his wife, Carolyn (deceased) were married for 45 years and were formerly members of the First Baptist Church in Auburn. Tom was most recently a member of the Farmville Baptist Church in Auburn where he was a past member of the Choir and a past Deacon. His Farmville family was a great encouragement On May 26, 2014, Memorial Day, COMMANDER (Ret) TOM EDEN received The Distinguished Veterans Award for the City of Auburn from the Mayor of Auburn Bill Ham. Over 400 people attended this special breakfast at the Auburn University Hotel in Auburn and enjoyed his "Tug Boat Tom" saga. But most of all, Tom had the gift of encouragement that he shared with all he met and loved. As Paul commanded the Christians in Thessalonica "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Tom was predeceased by his wife, Carolyn Pleasants Eden of Covington, TN; his sister, Grace Eden of Panama City, FL; and his parents, Tom Eden, Sr. (Pappy) and Grace Eden of Nashville, TN. He is survived by his sons, Tommy (Sandra) and Steve (Lynn); daughter, Eve Golden (Randy); grandchildren, Drew Eden (Ashley), Luke Eden (Samantha), Stephanie Roberti (Blake), Sherry Newkirk (Jeremi), Phillip Golden (Kristin), Ashley Lovato (Brandon), Chandler, Victoria and Steven Eden; great-grandchildren, Leland Golden, Jaide Elizabeth and Adalynn Grace Newkirk; nieces, Trudie Holtzendorf, and Diane Adair (Steve); nephew, Terry Wilson (Jennifer) and their children and grandchildren; sister-in-law, Peggy Blankenship; niece, Leslie Jones (Doug) and their sons; brother and sister-in-law, Mrs. Wilber Pleasants (Wilber deceased) and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Jeffcoat -Trant Funeral Home will have a visitation on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. to pay respects to the family and services will be held at Auburn First Baptist Church on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. with burial at Ft. Mitchell Cemetery for family only at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, Chattahoochee Council, BSA, 1237 1st Avenue, Columbus, GA 31901. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home directing.

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